Energy

Minister of Mines and Energy and Others v Black Range Mining (Pty) Ltd (SA 18/2009) [2010] NASC 7 (15 July 2010);

Headnote and Holding: 

This Supreme Court case revolved around exploration prospecting licenses (EPL) provided by the first appellant, to the second appellant and the respondent over different mining groups of nuclear resources but in the same land. 

At the High Court, the respondent challenged the first appellant’s action (the responsible minister) for giving prospecting and mining rights to another company over an area that the respondent had an EPL agreement to operate in. The High Court had quashed the first appellant’s decision in favour of the second appellant, asserting that the first appellant in offering the EPL agreement to the second appellant did not consider the interest of the respondent as required per sections 68(h) and 69(2)(c)(i) of the Minerals (Prospecting and Mining) Act of 1992. Aggrieved, the appellants appealed. 

On appeal, the main issue for consideration was whether the first appellant was justified to issue EPL over an area that the respondent had pre-existing EPL. The  Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court stating that the first appellant was duty-bound to take into consideration the provisions of ss 68(h) and 69(2)(c)(i) of the act which requires regard to be given on what impact will the additional activities have on the existing EPL holders. The Supreme Court held that natural justice requires that a hearing must be given to the person(s) already holding EPL over an area likely to be affected with subsequent EPLs. In conclusion, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court decision and dismissed the appeal with costs.